From 1971 to 1987, Uganda lost 50 percent of its forests, including virtually all of its primary forests.
Between 1990 and 2005, Uganda lost 26.3 percent of its remaining forest cover, and deforestation continues today at a rate of 2.2 percent per year, mostly due to subsistence farming, cutting for fuelwood, and colonization by the burgeoning population.
While Uganda is famous for its mountain gorillas, it is home to some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in Africa. More than 5,000 plant species are found in the country along with 345 mammals, 1,015 birds, 165 reptiles, and 43 amphibians.
We definitely saw evidence of deforestation and land clearing for fuelwood.
Here’s the healthy side of the road.
And here’s the clearcut side of the road.
The fence is kind of ironic, no?
A stash of wood.
A video to show the scope of the pile:
These five-foot bags are full of charcoal,
which is made from the wood that’s been cut.
A bag of coal might last a family a few weeks.
According to the UN Population Fund, Uganda’s population is predicted to double by 2025 and available wood will reduce by a third per person. According to the Uganda National Forestry Authority, 97 percent of the population uses charcoal and firewood for cooking.
Alternative fuel sources, such as biogas, are critical to protecting Uganda’s environment.
I promise, only one more demonstration of why biogas is an excellent, appropriate alternative source of cooking and lighting fuel in countries like Uganda. And then, I’ll show you biogas in action!
(Photos by Dero Sanford.)